Tying together service, commemoration of King

On their day off from classes, more than 140 students made their way to the Thompson Student Activities Room to observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day by making fleece tie blankets for the local Veteran Affairs Community Center.

Student Life and the Cardinal Military Association, hosts of the event, hoped to finish 125 blankets between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Jan. 19.

The Cardinal Military Association serves current and former members of the Armed Forces of the United States of America who are part of the SVSU community.

The Valley Vanguard

Vanguard photo | Jamie Loubert

SVSU students Roselynn Waldowski and Nicole Rahn spent the afternoon Monday, Jan. 19, making fleece blankets for veterans in need. Student Life and the Cardinal Military Association organized the event and challenged volunteers to craft 125 blankets in two hours. The blankets will be delivered to the local Veteran Affairs Community Center next week.

“I think it has a huge impact on our community, especially with the Carnegie distinction too, it just shows that it’s a part of our culture,” Associate Director of Student Life Jason Schoenmeyer said.

Taking place each year on the third Monday in January, the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service is the only federal holiday observed as a national day of service, dubbed “a day on, not a day off.”

Many student organizations with a special interest in volunteering on campus and in the community attended the event. One of those organizations was Touching All Generations, whose members advocate empowerment for community members of all ages, genders and backgrounds.

“This is significant to me because I feel like this was a great way to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day,” Lonneisha Rutherford, president of Touching All Generations and a third-year social work major, said. “I feel like he was all about giving back to the community. Us being out here supporting shows the community that we appreciate what Martin Luther King Jr. did.”

Individual students dedicated to service also volunteered their time.

“I like to help people, and this will to the veterans. I really appreciate all of their service, so giving back to them is something I really wanted to do,” Kristin Brown, occupational therapy freshman, said.

The event was a time for some to reflect on the current state of racism and discrimination.

“Our society, even though back then it was a lot more racist and there was a lot more discrimination, the problems still exist now,” Kevin Finley, accounting junior, said. “It’s not as extreme, but there are still a lot of problems we need to address. Martin Luther King Jr. Day to me is hope, hope for change, and hopefully I can live out his dream through my leadership.”

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